Litigation can be the most appropriate course of action for certain cases, but sometimes, it isn’t necessary to go that far. Mediation is a cost-effective alternative to litigation as a means of divorce-dispute resolution. Mediation is overseen by a mediator, who serves as a neutral third party that works as a coach to enable both parties to craft a mutually acceptable resolution to their case. Rather than taking a case to court and requiring a judge to make a ruling — which can be stressful, time-consuming, expensive, and unpredictable — people can directly participate in the mediation process as a means to control their own outcome, and to reach a satisfying resolution for all.
When Does Mediation Work?
What type of case works best for mediation? The usual situation is the type of case in which people will say, “We know where we are now, and we know what we need to ultimately do, but we just need to sit down with somebody who can help us figure it out and put it all together.” It doesn’t mean that everything is worked out heading in, but that the people who are involved want to meet and work with a third party neutral mediator to work out the terms of a settlement. For this reason, mediation tends to be more transparent and amicable than outright litigation, which makes it appealing in certain situations.
Mediation is especially effective when people need to come to a creative solution to their issues. For example, “We want to keep the children in the school district, and don’t want to sell the house now, but we will down the road. What do we need to do to make that happen at a later time and still protect each of our rights during the process?” Or, “We know that we need to deal with the consequences of now having two households, and one party may be returning to work. What formula can we use to create a means to handle finances now, and in the future?”
Advantages of Mediation
Because mediation brings parties together, rather than pitting them against each other as in the case of litigation, it carries a certain degree of control. People seeking mediation services will frequently say something along the lines of, “We want to control our own case. We don’t want to have to go to court to address every issue.”
But mediation isn’t just about the attending parties and the mediator. In mediation, other experts can be used as part of the process, such as an accountant for valuation of businesses or income. Each party is free to seek the advice of outside counsel, or enlist other professionals, such as an attorney, to participate in the process. Alternately, a therapist or other family professional may be helpful to assist with issues dealing with children and possible parenting time issues. In that way, both parties can work with the experts in a cooperative fashion, and not in a hostile or adversarial relationship.
Patricia M. Agoes, Esquire, is a qualified mediator, and has completed all of the pertinent training as required by New Jersey Court Rule 1:40-12. This training ensures that the mediation process is conducted in accordance with the standards and practices as prescribed by the New Jersey Court. She is willing to provide her services to enable you to use mediation as an alternative to an antagonistic litigation conflict.
The attorneys at Maselli Warren have over 30 years combined experience handling family law matters in Burlington, Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, Mercer, Ocean, and Somerset Counties. We know the Judges, and they know us. We know how to get results for our clients to fit their goals, whether that’s a simple uncontested divorce on the papers, or a complex custody relocation issue. If your case needs more than legal support, then we have a network of professionals to team up with to resolve your case. Contact the law offices of Maselli Warren online, or call us at (800) 891-2657.